By Sabina Mollot
The MTA will be conducting a study on a plan to close 14th Street to traffic for the duration of the planned 18-month L train shutdown.
The feasibility study was announced by State Senator Brad Hoylman on Wednesday, who, along with quite a few other elected officials, had requested the study.
“More than 50,000 people cross Manhattan daily on the L train below 14th Street,” Hoylman said. “It’s crucial that we have a plan in place to accommodate these riders given the L train will be closed for 18 months starting in January, 2019.”
He added that the study includes a proposal for a dedicated bus lane and expanded cyclist and pedestrian access.
On June 6, Hoylman and other local politicians, including Congressmembers Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velázquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Richard Gottfried and Brian Kavanagh, as well as City Council Members Corey Johnson and Dan Garodnick, sent a letter to the MTA requesting the study. The letter also suggested the agency take note of potential effects on emergency vehicles and Access-A-Ride.
This plan was also pushed by the group Transportation Alternatives, who referred to 14th Street as “The People’s Way.”
Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, cheered the news of the study in an official statement.
“We are encouraged that the MTA is taking an important first step by considering a bold plan to help stranded commuters and make this key corridor more efficient and sustainable,” White said. “We hope the DOT will follow suit.”
The MTA has already committed to beefing up bus service during the shutdown.
As T&V reported in July, at a joint meeting of Community Boards 3 and 6, MTA Operations Planning Chief Peter Cafiero said, “If there is no service in Manhattan, then we need to build up the bus fleet. We could be implementing what I’m calling the M14 SBS. It would serve Stuyvesant Town more directly by looping up to East 20th Street.”
Both tubes in the tunnel along the L line are being shut down starting next January in order to repair extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy that the MTA said couldn’t be completed just on weekends and evenings.